Titleist 2017 at the Japan Golf Fair - It was a tiny show only one third its usual size but Titleist was present and oddly joined by Mercedes benz in their both as the famous automaker offered some of its Titleist collaboration items. The real story was all about their new Vokey Forged and 718 T-MB. Follow the Jump to read the scoop...
TSG Club Works presents the 2015 Titleist Cold Forged Vokeys in Smoked Copper Finish - It's trendy and many of our customers have been sending in a variety of wedges for our Japanese Hand Made Smoked Copper treatment for a couple of reasons, the first is with copper the heads have a softer sticker feel at impact, second is after several rounds you begin to see them transform into a beautiful patina finish which people seem to enjoy.
It's a more rustic and crafty appearance for sure andworth noting is more than 70% of PGA Tour pro's use wedges that will wear in a raw form, or oxide style finish but smoked copper seems to not only trump those in feel but also in character after long term use. More pics after the Jump....
Titleist's first forged wedge for the Japan market, 2012's Vokey Forged was perhaps one of the best selling wedges here at TSG. Buoyed by Titleist and Vokey users and enthusiasts all around the world, they jumped at what was a great wedge and forged from S20C at Endo.
The new 2014 Vokey Cold Forged models have even more lofts and more grind options and are now cold forged. Bob Vokey again worked with Titleist Japan and the many Titleist Tour pros here to create a wedge that would provide performance up to their specs. This time Vokey chose a cold forging process to help increase consistency in manufacturing and reduce thermal contaction during the cooling process from traditional forging processes. This create more consistency across the wedge head resulting in more consistent feel and performance.
When the Vokey Cold Forged were announced, I figured they were no longer Endo and asked our Acushnet rep where these were made. He immediately said, its a secret but... they are made in Japan. Follow the Read More to get more photos and specs and info!
It's been quite a hectic week for all of us here in Japan with meetings most days in Tokyo to help set up many new exciting offerings coming in the near future. Because of this we've fallen a bit behind on our show coverage. Today we are back at it with Titleist Japan. Two years ago when Titleist Japan announced the first generation Japan only VG3 lineup, it grew to be one of the most popular releases ever in Japan. The VG3 Forged iron was one of the most in demand models we have ever seen, constantly back ordered at Titleist. It was discontinued last November and customers were still asking for it. It simply was one of the the best irons Titleist had ever produced with very balanced performance and great feel which appealed to both better players and average golfers. The drivers and woods were very forgiving and provided great feel and performance.
In the months leading up to the Golf Fair, there were a lot of questions from customers wanting to find out if a new vG3 would be coming out. Titleist kept quite mum on this but the moment we arrived at the show, the Titleist booths were one of the first we saw and we were very happy to see an entirely new VG3 lineup. The new Forged iron features a premium forged S20C body that features a lower cavity this time around. The undercut is more pronouced and can be seen more clearly because the cavity is more open unlike the previous model. Besides looking quite different, Titleist has decided to make a few design changes in order to improve performance and ease of use. The irons still feature variable sole weighting which changes from long irons to mid irons and disappears in the short irons. The tungsten weighting is now also placed in the neck of the iron creating a 3 point triangle to increase overall MOI. In order to counter more weight higher up on the neck and to maintain an easy and higher launch, the CG was brought lower thanks to the lower cavity area. I could not compare the new model to the older one but it looked as if the top line was thinner with similar offset. The overall design of the new VG3 Forged points at easy distance with great feel in a visually balanced package. It looks like it will be just as hot as the previous generation.
The new VG3 Driver features a new weighing system called PTW or Precision Tungsten Weight. Like the previous VG3 the positioning of the weight depends on the loft of the head, affecting launch and bias of the head and its abilility to square to the ball. Ovearall the new driver features a deeper and lower center of gravity to produce a high but strong low spin trajectory. The driver which is forged by Endo features a new hybrid oval cup face which expands the overall sweet spot by varying the face thickness towards the center. This reduces distance lost on off center hits and also produces soft feel at impact.
As always Titleist is known for their wedges, and their Japan only flagship models, the heavily in demand Vokey Forged, as well as the Vokey TVD CC were both front and center at the show. Titleist knows Japanese golfers love their Vokeys so we are always very lucky to get full Vokey releases here as retail. This looks to be another very in demand year for Titleist as they are still trying to keep up with Vokey Forged orders and preparing for the onslaught of demand for the new VG3 Irons. We suggest you pre order the irons to be sure you get them early or definitely expect to wait after their April release!
We're already into the second month of 2012 and I haven't finished the recap yet for 2011's best clubs at TSG. I've been swamped with the new site launch and getting ready for the Japan Golf Fair as well as helping many golfers get their 2012 bags in order. As I had mentioned in part 1, Tourspecgolf probably sells the widest range of equipment of any store and that goes for even top Japanese based local outfits. With many top end premium boutique brands, to famous mainstream brands to smaller budget brands, there is something for every playing level and budget. Many demanding golf enthusiasts shop here and what they buy is very reflective of what is not only the most popular but also what is top performing. We should always keep in mind though, not every club is for every golfer. We are all different in swing styles and handicaps and finding the right fit doesn't always mean simply buying what is most popular. Its about finding the right fit for each individual. Today I'll look at what were (and still are) the most popular clubs of the last 14 months or so here at TSG.
There are so many great wedges to choose from coming out of Japan. This is both a good and bad thing, good because we all love to have choice and bad because we can't make up our minds which wedge to get! One thing is for sure is that the forged wedges rule the roost here and is one of the reasons why many customers around the world turn to TSG for the ultimate in soft feel and awesome spin. The only cast wedge to ever make make a dent in yearly wedge rankings has been the Vokey TVD and its past 3 iterations. Otherwise, you can pretty much count on every popular wedge being forged. Some of the best selling and most popular wedges this year include the Royal Collection DB Forged, forged at Endo from S20C and with very versatile performance and wonderful feel, the Fourteen MT-28 V5 Forged, with its taper blade and beautiful no frills shape at address as well as great spin, Yururi's Forged Tour Wedge which excels in tight lies and provides amazing spin control. However 2 wedges pretty much dominated the top and continue to do so even into 2012.
Yururi Gekku Raw Forged Wedge
The premium forged Gekku Raw wedge has long been a popular seller even before 2011. This year it seemed to make a big comeback as people seemed to come to appreciate its one of a kind look much more. Compared to other wedges it can be purchased as heads only, and is the lowest priced of all Yururi wedges which all play a factor in its popularity. 2011 also saw many golfers going out of their way to find non conforming sharp grooves which all play into the hand of the Gekku Raw. The Gekku Raw is the oldest wedge model in the current Yururi lineup but as a classic it still exudes superb looks, quality and performance. What makes it stand out from many mass produced wedges these days is it's grainy black appearance and the fact that every Gekku head is grinded and finished individually by hand. One would think a raw unplated wedge that is not buffed smooth would look like a rough stone, but on the contrary the Gekku has always looked like a work of art. By looking at the wedge you can tell the grinder's skill. Yururi has told me as well sometimes they can tell which of their grinders did which head due to signature style of grinding for each grinder meaning each Gekku Raw wedge is truly unique in small ways.
I'm pretty much copying what I wrote about the Gekku back in the summer when I already began noticing its revival, there is no need to re-write what has already been said. A great feeling wedge is not only about what type of steel it uses and how it was produced ie cast of forged. The design of the head plays a huge part into how a wedge ends up feeling. The grind of a wedge can dictate what kind of impact you get though various conditions. Yururi attention to the Gekku's grinding is very obvious and can be seen all around the head. Leading edge and trailing edge relief allow for easy entry and exit from the turf, heel relief allows a player to open up the wedge and still keep the face aimed at the target and careful grinding of the neck make it flow seamlessly into the wedges top line. Many of these aspects allow a player to create wonderful feel and spin and reap the benefits of this soft forged head. Finally another reason why the Gekky Raw is so popular is its wide variety of lofts. In this day and age with so many different iron and wedge setups available, I can't understand why so many brands will limit themselves by releasing a wedge with 2 lofts options. People ant variety and the Gekku gives it with 41* 45* 49* 53* 57* and 61* heads AND 49* 53* 57* and 61* as LEFT Handed models! This is why the Gekku Raw outold pretty much every wedge in 2011 until...
Titleist Japan Vokey Forged
Let's face it, when many of us think about wedges the name Vokey pops up. There are many Titleist fans around the world and top pros (even under contract with other brands) who swear by their Vokeys. So when Titleist Japan announced a Vokey Forged wedge for the Japanese market late last fall... all hell broke loose... literally. The Endo forged S20C wedge was a hit long before it was even released with tons of pre orders not only through TSG from global customers but all throughout Japan from many who live and die by their Vokey wedges. At launch towards the end of October, only a handful of customers were lucky enough to get in on the first batch before Titleist ran out of clubs. In the following months we have had many many orders, more than any other wedge by far, but unfortunately with customers waiting for quite a long time while Titleist caught up to demand (at this point the wait is still 4-8 weeks for standard spec and custom orders).
So does the Vokey Forged live up to its demand? It seems so as feedback I get from customers as well as testing I have done (review here) say this is one versatile wedge with very good feel and very good spin. Lofts ranging from 46* to 62* in 2* increments are available making for very versatile wedge combinations in everyone's bag. Bounce ranges from 8-10* on all the wedges meaning, its not really a low bounce wedge nor is it a high bounce wedge. The design of the Vokey's grind and sole make it versatile so with its medium bounce numbers it can actually perform well in a variety of conditions and with different swing types. The new Vokey Forged features a combination R and M Grind (on the 54 56 58 60 and 62*) with a pre worn leading edge. The M grind results in trailing edge relief as well as heel relief allowing for more control type shots and deft touch around the greens when opening up the face of the wedge. The leading and trailing edge also produce clean entry and exit through a variety of turf conditions and in fact create a thinner sole area for usage in tighter lies. The 46 48 50 and 52* also feature a pre worn leading edge but the sole is flatter and in turn a bit wider to allow for full shots and less digging. Unlike the non conforming grooves of the Yururi, the Vokey Forged Wedges do possess USGA Conforming grooves with 17 double pressed score lines more tightly bunched together for more spin. A spin milled face adds more bite and spin control across the entire face and helps keep spin up even on partial swings. Its undoubtedly one good looking wedge with versatile performance to boot.
So the Yururi Gekku Raw pretty much dominated most of the year until Halloween came around and the Vokey Forged pretty much blew all other wedges out of the sand to dominate demand even up to today (and who knows for how much longer - though there seems to be no slow down and people seem willing to wait for their orders). The truth is there are many amazing wedges out there and key points people look for when they come to TSG is soft forged feel, great spin and most of all versatility. Versatility is a major purchasing factor especially for the average golfer or recreational player which most of us all. We can't always make the same swing, we can't always land in the same place, we end up in all kinds of lies and our game is nowhere near perfect. A versatile wedge can be a life saver. We have been very lucky that there are many amazing forged wedges coming out of Japan that are very versatile and this year will be no different as we look forward to new releases at the Golf Fair. Look for a nice forged versatile wedge that fits your swing and playing level and you will go a long way towards bringing down your score. As always we're here to help if you need recommendations!
The winter releases have only just kicked off recently with the arrival of the first batch of new 2012 models. It's time for a little update on what's hot in the Japan market and what's going on at TSG. We'll start off with the new Titleist Vokey Forged Wedge which turns out is indeed made at Endo. The Vokey Forged has seen huge demand amidst low supply from Titleist Japan. We apologize as customers have had to wait and are still waiting for the Vokey Forged orders as Titleist works hard to catch up. The good news is, as our review last week noted, the Vokey Forged seems like a product well worth waiting for. Depending on spec and shaft ordered, wait times right now can range anywhere from 3-6 weeks. TSG still recommends you order if you want this wedge as you will have to wait any way.
Every year Yamaha announces a Limited V Forged Tour Model, and every year it sells out. This year is no different with Yamaha announcing 1200 sets for all of Japan back in October. Within days of that announcement, all sets with standard S200 shafts were reserved and accounted for. The reason for this is that many of the big golf chain stores in Japan simply order standard spec sets, and hundreds of them which is why Yamaha ran out in record time. Luckily for us most of TSG's customers either want custom shafts or plan on reshafting any way so will take any shaft. We've been taking custom Tour Model orders since the announcement of the new Yamaha lineup but as of today were told that supply of the V Forged Tour Model is about to be completely allocated and pre sold out so it is technically no longer available as of today. About 15 luckly customers were able to pre order and I'm sure they can't wait to get their sets!
Honma has announced special edition releases for their 30th anniversary. Revival models for the PP737 Muscle Back and LB280 Cavity Back will be released in limited numbers. We are also quickly approaching the launches for ONOFF and XXIO's new 2012 lineups which we will preview and review here on the blog. Fourteen Golf has already released its all new RM-11 forged wedge which we need to get reviewed and in the shop as well! I should also note Ryoma Fairway woods begin shipping out this week!
Speaking of 2012, its hard to believe its already mid November and winter is almost upon us. For many of of us winter is a break from golf and a time to rest and recover as well as fine tune our game as well as our bodies. I've decided to make an effort this winter (though golf is all year round here I do play less), to focus on fitness and nutrition. Let's face it, we can have the best gear but if we are unhealthy, out of shape and out of practice, that gear won't mean anything. As I get older I find I'm simply not as strong, as flexible and even as focused as my younger days. The right diet, and fitness regime can bring much of that back. I aim to build a strong core with work on flexibility and strength. I'll be experimenting with some golf training tools, weights and even health supplements to get the body in balance and at 100%. I'm hoping 2012 is the year I can take my game to a new level and getting a head start is all that much more important.
Another thing that crossed my mind is that the Japan Golf Fair which is always at the end of February is not that far off. Every year its such an exciting time for us and recently we've had the pleasure of meeting up with more and more of our members and customers who make the trek out to see the worlds greatest golf show. If you are coming out, please be sure to give us a shout and we can all meet up!
It's hard to believe we're already into the first week of November. Some of our friends in the West have already seen their golfing seasons for this year come to a close. In Japan, golf is all year round luckily, unlike when I was back in Toronto and we'd suddenly have a 5 month layoff starting late November. The weather here is still very nice seeing temperatures during the day still hit 24-25C. This of course means, new releases continue to roll out.
Iomic has introduced a new combo grip called the Sticky Evolution Black Armor. As you can probably tell from the picture and the name, the Black Armor is a combination of both the X-Evolution and the Sticky series patterns. The left hand gets the firmer less torque X-Evolution feel for stability while the right hand gets the softer tackier Sticky feel. The new Sticky Evolution is available now initially only in Ribbed versions. It is a 1.8 core with M60 size and around 48g with a black body and blue cap.
Our Vokey Forged demos finally arrive tomorrow for a photo session and some testing. There has been crazy demand for the new wedges and Titleist way oversold the pre orders before launch. We continue to get an onslaught of orders and at this point customers are waiting 1-2 weeks for standard specs and a bit longer for custom specs. We do suggest that if you want these wedges you don't hesitate to go ahead and place your order as the demand shows no signs of dying down. This means the longer you wait to place your order, the longer you'll most likely have to wait for your wedges.
Amazingly, one of the hottest irons of the past year, the Titleist VG3 Forged is still just as hot. Titleist is still back ordered on the VG3 periodically and that includes right now where customers are again waiting for clubs. With the launch of new models like the MB, CB, AP2 forged, Titleist production must be struggling to keep up with all the demand.
Finally I thought I'd take the chance in this post to introduce the new 2012 Yamaha Inpres X Z Series of clubs. I've already posted about the athlete golfer V series, the better and improving golfer D series and now the newly introduced Z series for the higher handicapper and average golfer. The Z series is designed with ease of use in mind and falls under the category "Automatic". With a new Z202 driver which is made to maximize distance and forgiveness, the Z series brings a a premium forged driver with all the same materials and technologies as the D and V series but in a user friendly package. The new Z Cavity iron is made for maximum ease of use, with offset, thicker top line and sole as well as a multi piece design with tungsten weighting and under cut cavity. The Z Iron is a distance iron with unrivaled forgiveness and pretty good feel from its ES230 Maraging face.
Here is the video promo for the new Inpres X Z Series. It is of course in Japanese but as always you get a good look at some of the technology and see/hear the clubs in action.
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